In April of this year, Amazon released Skill Blueprints, a drag-and-drop way for Echo owners to create their own Alexa skills. Skill Blueprints is primarily marketed to individuals and families as a way to create interactions that are relevant in their personal lives, such as “Alexa, open my dad jokes” and “Alexa, who’s the best mom?” As of today, as TechCrunch points out, skills made with Skill Blueprints can be shared with friends and family. Currently, users can only access a shared Alexa skill via a link, shareable by text message, email, social media, and so on.
The reasoning behind Skill Blueprints
Amazon wants to be as integrated into the lives of their customers as possible — to the point where they refer to their efforts as “our ‘Alexa Everywhere’ vision.” Alexa’s home is the Echo, of course, but can also be found in 3rd party speakers, cars, laptops, Xboxes, and fully-integrated smart homes. Skill Blueprints is an attempt to integrate even deeper — creating a personal skill that becomes part of a family’s routine assimilates the entire household to using Alexa. Essentially, Amazon wants Alexa, through assisting adults and entertaining children, to feel like part of the family.
At the moment, Alexa skills created with Skill Blueprints are pretty limited, both by community and diversity. They cannot be shared to the Alexa Skills store, but rather through a private link. As TechCrunch suggests, “having some sort of community section for Alexa owners within the Blueprints site itself could be interesting,” but currently no such platform exists. Additionally, almost all Skill Blueprints are for games or novelty skills — out of 27 skills, only 7 aren’t categorized as entertainment. Because of their limitations, the average Alexa user may not be inclined to create and use personalized Alexa skills without further development.